Breastfeeding is a gift, but when mastitis appears, it can quickly become a nightmare. The good news is ancient Chinese Medicine has proven to effectively prevent its onset and boost recovery.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is inflammation of a milk duct due to infection in a clogged duct. It can arise quickly and will leave you feeling like you’ve been run over by a bus. Common symptoms include acute breast tenderness, an engorged milk duct, red skin over a milk duct, fever/chills, fatigue, and body aches. If left untreated, mastitis can rupture into an abscess requiring surgical intervention. Therefore, it’s important to be as vigilant as you can about clearing clogged ducts.
Mastitis is most likely to occur within the first three months of breastfeeding and is the second most common infection during postpartum (for those who want to know, urinary tract infections are the most common postpartum illness).
The most common Western treatment for mastitis is a course of antibiotics to kill off an overgrowth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. S. aureus bacteria is generally transmitted from the baby’s mouth to the breast. If your immune system has been weakened by stress or fatigue, the bacteria can take up residency in a milk duct causing inflammation and engorgement.
How can I prevent mastitis?
Twenty centuries ago, Chinese doctors discovered the root cause of 99% of mastitis infections… anger, frustration, and/or resentment! Have you ever been so mad at someone/something you felt like you might explode with words or burst into tears? Anger is a powerful emotion that literally brings a rush of energetic heat to the body like a flame shooting upwards. According to Chinese Medicine, that is energy (qi) in the Liver meridian looking to escape. If you’re a nursing mama and the sudden rush of Liver qi is not expressed, it lodges in the breasts inflaming milk ducts and establishing ideal conditions for an infection. To prevent mastitis, your best bet is to find a safe outlet for any anger, resentment or frustration. An outlet could be talking to someone you trust, taking a walk, writing in a journal, or creating art.
If I get mastitis, what should I do?
Mastitis is best-treated sooner rather than later. If you notice a clogged duct not clearing with feedings, self-massage or heat, it’s best to seek professional help right away as mastitis can escalate quickly. Your family doctor or gynecologist can prescribe antibiotics, while an acupuncturist can perform a treatment aimed at getting the stuck energy (qi) moving and will likely send you home with Chinese herbs to clear the infection naturally over the course of a few days. To keep mastitis from recurring, stick to a regular feeding schedule, take the time needed to clear clogged ducts as soon as you notice them, and find a healthy way to release any unresolved feelings of resentment or frustration.
To schedule a consultation for all of your postpartum challenges, contact us at 512-686-0777 today!
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know there is a long list of things to avoid: paint fumes, ibuprofen, dirty kitty litter, sushi, tobacco, aspirin, caffeine, hot tubs, raw cookie dough, scuba diving….the list goes on and on. So what can you do to cope with the stress, aches, and pains of growing another human? The answer is...
The great news is that acupuncture is effective at treating ailments in every trimester of pregnancy. The most common pregnancy-related conditions seen in the clinic include:
When performed by a Licensed Acupuncturist (not a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor), acupuncture is a safe option for mamas-to-be to consider when looking for gentle, natural help with pain or illness.
To find an acupuncturist skilled in pregnancy support, there are 3 important questions to ask:
To schedule a consultation at Indigo Healing Acupuncture and learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your pregnancy, click the button below.
It’s been 3 weeks since the new Indigo Healing Acupuncture opened on West Hwy 290 serving the communities of Dripping Springs, Driftwood, and Austin with integrative holistic healing!
Good Qi served Tuesday through Saturday by appointment.
Services include acupuncture, no-needle acupuncture, traditional fire cupping, Chinese Herbs, moxibustion, and supplements review.
The clinic offers:
Truth: Trying to Conceive (TTC) gets more expensive over time.
It's undeniably tempting to self-educate & research the latest ways to get pregnant. Unfortunately, it often leads to wasting money on supplements, herbs, fertility teas, and technology that don't deliver a big fat positive (BFP).
Wasting money & hope can make the whole process of TTC even more overwhelming and frustrating.
So, here is my advice if you have been trying to get pregnant and don't know what to try/buy next.
Ask for help from a professional fertility expert.
It is a small investment that will save you time, money, and tears.
Here is my 3 step plan to getting pregnant on a budget:
1. Commit to the journey: There is no quick fix to establishing a fertile environment and it's easy to forget there are two sides to fertility story:
2. Commit to a plan: If you thought committing to at least a 3 month journey sounded challenging, this step is even more daunting, but much better for your wallet. Committing to a plan requires saying a firm "no" to that herb/tea/supplement you just read about on a fertility forum. Stop throwing money away by buying every supplement you hear about. Those $20 teas and bottles of herbs purchased by impulse shopping can add up fast!
3. Commit to a budget: Before you start shopping, commit to a budget that works for you. You can always revamp it if your financial situation changes. The most important thing is to stick to your budget, because the added stress of finances can push you over the edge when you're TTC.
Here are some examples of how far your budget goes on a professionally designed fertility plan:
Please leave comments or reach out to Michelle if you need help designing a natural fertility plan that works for you & your wallet. Specific products used in this estimate are listed after the "Read More" jump.
Sending prosperity and baby dust your way!
As a Licensed Acupuncturist, one of my favorite skills is reading a patient’s pulse to find out what’s going on in their body-mind-spirit. In Oriental Medicine, this is called pulse diagnosis. Within seconds, I can find out whether a patient…
… is having nightmares
… is digesting a greasy hamburger
… is constipated
… has a headache
… has back pain
… is about to catch a cold
And, my favorite pulse revelations:
… is pregnant
… is pregnant with a boy or girl
… is pregnant with multiples
Patients often ask me, “How in the world can you know that from my pulse?”
The short answer is, the pulse reveals everything.
Pulse diagnosis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. There are over 25 distinct pulses and each has its own unique characteristics. Licensed Acupuncturists spend at least 4 years in graduate school learning & practicing traditional pulse diagnosis. It’s a skill that develops with practice and study over time.
Now, let’s circle back to my favorite pulse revelations, pregnancy and fetal gender...
I can generally detect pregnancy in a pulse shortly after implantation between cycle weeks 3-4. The pulse reveals pregnancy about a week before any modern medical pregnancy test or bloodwork will register enough hCG to deliver a positive result. Discovering a pregnancy pulse is always the highlight of my work day!
The gender of the fetus appears in the pulse as early as cycle week 5. To minimize error, I monitor the pulse carefully between weeks 5-7 before I share the news. Sometimes, parents don’t want to know, so I record the gender and deliver it to them in a sealed envelope for later use. Anatomical ultrasounds typically occur around cycle week 20, so learning a baby’s gender by cycle week 7 gives parents plenty of extra prep time to shop for pink or blue!
Are you ready to get a pulse diagnosis?
Request an appointment here!
Miscarriage = A difficult word to say out loud. The word feels heavy, laden with the weight of grief, sadness, pain, and shame. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon occurrence… statistics tell us 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage in their lifetime. I’ve had two & I know many women who’ve had more. Miscarriage is always a significant loss. There is no quick fix for recovery and every mother walks a unique path to acceptance and healing.
So, how can you get through it? Here are 3 steps towards healing after miscarriage:
The hardest thing after my miscarriages was breathing. That may sound weird, but it took a conscious effort to breathe through the grief. In Chinese Medicine, grief is the emotion of the Metal Element. The Metal Element corresponds to the Lungs. When grief attacks the Lungs, it can be physically hard to breathe as the chest tightens and constricts. To help you (and your Lungs) process the grief, consciously take a deep healing breath, in through your nose, expanding down to your diaphragm, and out through your mouth. Repeat a few times until you feel grief relax its cool grip. It can help to imagine breathing in white healing light and breathing out clouds of gray sadness.
Self-care Tip: There is a point on the Lung channel named "Broken Sequence"... it is a powerful point to release grief. Massage and press the point to help your body process feelings of grief and sadness.
2. Express your thoughts
Miscarriage is an incredibly lonely and isolating experience. It doesn’t matter how long you were a mother, nothing can replace the loss of the life inside you and very few people will understand what it feels like. Your partner may be sad too, but there is no denying that your sense of loss will be stronger and last longer. To process grief, all of the emotions (sadness, anxiety, fear, shame, worry, guilt) must be physically released. Here are some ideas on how to let those emotions go:
3. Allow time to heal
If you can, escape from work and daily obligations. Take 2-3 days to live in your pajamas, feel the pain & loss, cry uncontrollably, and heal. If you can’t take time away, schedule an hour into your day to process the grief by expressing your emotions. Crying in the shower is good too!
Recovering from miscarriage is often the loneliest journey, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
If you need help, let friends or family know what you’re going through and ask for their support. Reach out to a local acupuncturist to holistically heal your mind-body-spirit.
Once you open up about your loss, you'll be surprised how many women will share that they've had one too. Miscarriage is a common secret there is no reason to keep.
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.